shucking and jiving

Shuckin' and jivin'

Shuckin' and jivin' (or shucking and jiving) is a slang term primarily used by African Americans. It refers to the speech and behavioral mechanisms adopted in the presence of an authority figure . Shuckin' and jivin' usually involves clever lies and impromptu storytelling, used to one-up an opponent or avoid punishment . Such behavior is believed to have originated in the era of slavery .

Thomas Kochman provides an example:

One black gang member was coming down the stairway from the club room with seven guns on him and encountered some policemen coming up the same stairs. If they stopped and frisked him, he and others would have been arrested. A paraphrase of his shuck follows: 'Man, I gotta get away from up there. There's gonna be some trouble and I don't want no part of it.' The shuck worked on the minds of the policemen. It anticipated their questions as to why he was leaving the clubroom and why he would be in such a hurry. He also gave them a reason for wanting to go up fast.

Shuckin' and Jivin': Folklore from Contemporary Black Americans (ISBN 0-253-20265-5) is the name of a book written by Daryl Cumber Dance in 1981. In 1972, the Johnny Lewis Quartet record a soul jazz LP called Shuckin' 'N Jivin' .

The term is also used in the Southern United States to mean any type of deceit or mischief involving lies.


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